By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
A delegation of investorsÂ from the Hebei Province of China at the weekend held talks with officials ofÂ Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) led by its president Tony Ejinkeonye, to prospect business opportunities between the region and the Chamber.
The meeting was part of the exploratory discussions between the province and Nigerian business interest groups, which included the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce,Â Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN),Â during their visit to the FCT Minister Muhammed Musa Bello.
Deputy Governor of Hebei, Wang Xiaodong led the 20-man visiting delegation, which comprised the President ofÂ ChinaÂ CivilÂ Engineering ConstructionÂ Corporation(CCECC), Zhao Dianlong, Deputy President of China Fortune Ltd, Huang Xianghua, the Deputy President, Shijiazhuang Junlebao Dairy Co. Ltd, Zhu Hong and the Managing Director Baoding Shuofeng Ltd, a leading global producer of cotton, Li Manchang.
Wang said the Hebei Province Government would open a trade office in Abuja to underscore the business ties.
Hebei is one of the biggest economic regions among the 31 provinces and municipalities in China. Its GDP by 2016 estimates is $500million, while its population is put at 74million.
Located in an area contiguous to Beijing, it is fully industrialised with a developed commuter transport system. It is also one of the leading steel producers in the world. Its annual cement output is 120 million tonnes while its flat glass output is estimated at 100million tonnes.
Wang expressed optimism in Nigeria and especially Abuja, saying that what they saw made a deep impression on the delegation. He had impressive words for Abujaâ€™s pleasant environment and good planning, while observing that Nigeria has indeed laid a good foundation for an economically viable city.
â€œThere are obviously many complementary features, potentials and space for cooperation between Abuja and Hebei Province. Entrepreneurs from Hebei are eager to partner with Abuja in many mutually beneficial fields,â€ he said.
Bello saidÂ FCT is a fertile ground for foreign direct investment because of its strategic location, conducive atmosphere, tight security and a centralized airport and railways that would soon be fully developed in the next couple of years.